The Russian President and Canadian Prime Minister discussed the development of bilateral relations in various fields, including cooperation in developing the Arctic.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, friends,
We are very happy to see you here in Vladivostok. We have good experience in cooperating on both a personal level and an interstate level.
Naturally, I would like to begin by talking about the economy: since 2000, we have increased our trade turnover eight-fold, but unfortunately, the absolute values remain very low. Meanwhile, we have very significant opportunities. In my view, we are not taking sufficient advantage of them, although there are certain interesting areas, there are leaders in cooperation on both the Russian and Canadian side. I think that our challenge is to support them and find new promising areas for cooperation.
In addition, there is a great deal of interest in joint work in the Arctic. I hope that we will be able to work very effectively in the near future within the framework of the structures that have been created, with the prospects that our experts and specialists are proposing.
I am very happy to see you. Welcome.
Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper: Thank you, Mr President, for your welcome and for holding this summit in this beautiful region of your nation.
This year, we are marking not only the 70th year of our bilateral relations between our countries, but also the 40th anniversary of the great Summit Series that, in many ways, is the beginning of the modern era of our cultural relations, so it’s a great time for me to be here.
Also, Mr President, I want to congratulate you and your country on your accession to the World Trade Organisation. I know that this is one of a series of important events for Russia – the holding of this summit, the holding of the Olympics, and also, of course, your accession to the World Trade Organisation, which I think, more than ever, will provide great economic opportunities to be explored between our two countries.
You are correct in observing that although our economic relations continue to expand, we have not in any way seen the potential of those come to pass yet, so you and I will talk about what we can do to further those relations, as well as a range of other issues. We will obviously be talking about international peace and security issues and some of the common challenges and experiences that we share as Arctic nations.
So once again, thank you for hosting me and I look forward to our discussions here.
Vladimir Putin: I had the pleasure of meeting with several of your outstanding hockey players. I must say that they are certainly ambassadors to the world in the broadest and most direct sense of this word.
I would like to ask you to pass on my words of gratitude to them for coming to Russia and playing a match against our hockey veterans yesterday in the city of Yaroslavl, where a terrible tragedy took place one year ago and an entire hockey team was killed.
As for sports, you know that we are preparing for the Olympic Games in 2014 and Canadian companies are also participating very actively in the work to prepare for this event.